The Future Is Driverless Cars, or Is It?

The Future Is Driverless Cars, or Is It.jpg


Driverless or Autonomous cars are the future of transportation, and the future is closer than you may think. It may take a couple more years to perfect the technology, but few people doubt that autonomous cars will be a reality shortly.


A driverless car is capable of sensing its environment and navigating without human input. They achieve this with the help of radar, lidar, GPS and computer vision. Advanced control systems interpret sensory information to identify appropriate navigation paths, as well as obstacles and important signs.


Geneva Motor Show

Most autonomous cars are rough, experimental versions of current models, with all sorts of added sensor hardware. However, the recent Geneva Motor Show has showcased several futuristic design studies that took a look into the car cabin of the future.


The Swiss automotive think tank Rinspeed has offered one possible version of the future in autonomous vehicles with its Xchange concept car, which premiered at Geneva.


“I wanted to put the passenger at the center of what is possible, not the autonomous driving technology,” says Rinspeed’s founder and chief executive Frank Rinderknecht. “Travelling in a driverless car will no longer require me to stare at the road, but will let me spend my time in a more meaningful way.”


“The question then arises, would I like to work, to sleep, to read, to do whatever activities you might do on a train, or a plane? I wanted to start thinking about how autonomous cars would ‘move’ people, and not just in the literal sense,” Rinderknecht said.


Rinspeed has taken a four-seater saloon and reconfigured the interior into something that would not look out of place inside a small private jet, except its actually in a standard-sized electric Tesla Model S.


“It would have been easier in a van or stretch limousine, obviously,” said Rinderknecht. The seats were made to swivel, tilt, and slide into 20 different positions, enabling passengers in the front to turn and face those in the back or lie back and watch a 32-inch screen.


Enjoy the Ride

The steering column can be moved to the center of the vehicle for better access to an information and entertainment system running the full length of the dashboard. The system features two pivoting LCDs to surf the web, check emails or even video conference. Everything is fully connected to the world of real-time information and cloud services.


Even though the Xchange is experimental, Rinspeed has worked with established sub-contractors to prove that the concept is feasible.


Rinderknecht says that driverless cars will not mean the complete end of driving altogether, there will be times when people will want to drive.


“Most driving is boring because you are just eating miles and miles. If I go on the motorway from London to Birmingham, it’s not very joyful. However, if I go over an Alpine pass, I want to drive myself, I don’t want the machine to do it.”


Rinspeed is used to pushing automotive design to the limits. What Rinderknecht calls his “crazy Swiss team” is behind several extreme projects, including its Scuba underwater car.


“We are a small company and can think outside the box. We don’t have all the big companies’ constraints, processes, and politics. We can be a lot agiler.”


Rinderknecht says he chose the Tesla in part because electric and hybrid vehicles are the future, but also because the configuration of the car was best suited for the multi-position seats.


“People won’t want standard seats in autonomous cars. Have you ever tried to sit back in your car? Your shirt rides out of your trousers. We had to redesign the whole seating schematics.”


Relax and Leave the Driving to the Car

Overcoming safety, liability and regulatory issues will be a big challenge for manufacturers of autonomous cars. Rules governing seat safety are among the most complex, especially when designers want to have them flat, but few of us give it much thought.


“Our starting point was the business cabin of an aircraft, and we went from there,” Rinderknecht says. Moreover, then there is the issue of comfort. “All that braking and going over bumps, you need a seat that will let you relax,” he says. Rinspeed developed the seats with the world-renowned manufacturer of medical prosthetics, Otto Bock Mobility.


“There will come a time when we will be traveling in a container, with no airbags or seatbelts because the chances of an accident will be so small.” He sees a convergence of automotive technology and artificial intelligence as “an enabler of a new industrial revolution.”


Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog. If you enjoyed this article, please join my mailing list to make sure you do not miss a single informative and entertaining article as soon as it is published. I encourage you to start or join a discussion by adding a comment at the end of the article.


Also, I can help you with any of your professional content needs, including original blog articles, website content and all other forms of content management and marketing.


Please contact me at, and I will put my 15+ years of experience to work for you.


Let’s Spread the Words Together!

2 thoughts on “The Future Is Driverless Cars, or Is It?

Please join the conversation with your input.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s